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be has expressed toward the version of Cowper, that he should avoid his several faults; he must preserve both the spirit and letter of the original, and present the public with a poetical translation. Whether this has been accomplished, the reader will now have an opportunity of judging. The Italics will indicate the phrases we condemn as erroneous and pleonastic. As to the verse, there cannot be the smallest difficulty in forming an opinion.
• Sing Goddess, Peleus' son's accursed wrath,
None while I live,' &c. These lines are ungrammatical ; his must of necessity be whose ; and so bad a sentence could not be injured by the alteration.
• And pray would'st thou thy own reward retain,
-But come, cease now this strife, nor with thy hand
-Mother, since me thou hast brought into this world
A nod from me is, ʼmong th’immortals deem'd
Infallible, and inevitable !' It is not surprising that the author of such lines should scrape together and retail the censures that have been pronounced on the elegant and elaborate Cowper. If Cow.per's style be indeed harsh, colloquial, and vulgar, Dr. Williams' assuredly is not; and if Dr. Williams' be not tame and uncouth, we really do not know what is. It is but justice to say that he has carefully freed bimself from the charges of copious, inverted, and abrupt; instead of the magnificent profusion, the beautiful sinuosities, or the sublime cataracts of an American river, he as given us a scanty, straight, quiet Dutch dyke.
Cowper has been censured for his elisions, and inharmonious lines. Can any thing in his Homer be produced so aukward and indefensible as these ?
• So may the Gods, who Olympian domes possess :-
Of thold Sire marine, had with him conferrd.'A writer who uses whilom, ken, erst, emprise, &c. with so little scruple, must not reproach Cowper for antiquated diction.
The classical reader will see, in some of the ugliest phrases, that Dr. W. has attempted to do Homer into English, word for word. Such are his translations of puisvrbedios, apyspołotos, and the following explanations of μεροψ and πολυδεύρας. .
'men, articulating various sounds
Olympus, that in various cliffs abounds For a lexicon, these are excellent ; but for a poem--we have our doubts.
With all its servility, this translation is often as incorrect as the flowing and melodious periods of Cowper. Thus, ympas etelow is, - Shall even withering age creep o'er her frame;' stole quou, doom'd never to produce; Donude, homewards, aseppenins,' who rules the lightning's blaze.' The following lines are particularly pleonastic :
................. nor felt the mind the smallest want
Th’all beauteous harp, which Phoebus sweetly play'd,
Alternate sang, and chårm'd the heavenly board. • And Muses', is ungrammatical; the construction requires nor. We are astonished to find such an error as the Sintians used me kind' (kindly.) Many omitted or altered epithets we should notice, but time and patience would fail us. Our only excuse for entering into such minute criticism is, that the whole merit which any one can attach to this version, consists in its literal fidelity. In this quality, therefore, we are obviously required to detect its deficiencies. These, we acknowledge, are not important; neither are Cowper's, except in a few cases, where he has evidently followed a false interpretation. To do entire justice to Dr. Wi's version, we select one of bis best passages ; and in order to shew the nature of Cowper's inaccuracies, the corresponding paragraph in his translation is subjoined.
Ως εφαθ' ευχομένος, &c.
And hied him down the steep Olympian cliffs,
• Such pray'r he made ; and it was heard. 'The gode
* Par. Lost, vi.. 832.
Against the Greeks themselves his bitter shafts,
Expiring, touch'd his bosom with the thought. From a careful and candid examination, we are of opinion that Dr. W. has gained much on his predecessors, in point of accuracy, but at the expense of every other excellence; but he has lost all the spirit of the original, without retaining all the letter ; bis translation being neither prose nor poetry, has neither the charms of the one, nor the fidelity of the other. His utter failure, it is probable, will not only exalt the public estimate of Cowper's success, but will tend to discourage any future translator. If, for any purpose, a version more literal than Cowper's be thought necessary, let it be in prose. His plan of translation appears to unite, in the utmost practicable degree, fidelity with gracefulness ; any translation, entirely new, we conceive, will be at least as far inferior in one respect as it may be superior in the other. Cowper, we acknowledge, njust yield to Pope in sweetness and ease, and to Dr. Williams in point of minute correctness ; but as a translator, bound to preserve both the meaning and the manner of his original, we think him decidedly superior to both. If any competent author could undertake the revision of Cowper's work, with the advantage of modern criticisms,in. cluding Dr. Williams', we might hope for a translation of Homer with no other defects than such as arise from the ir. reconcileable variance of idioms, and the essential imperfec. tions of language.
We regret the severity of the censure which Dr. W.'s translation has extorted from us. But in such an attempt, though unnecessary, it is no disgrace to have failed.
In proceeding to the critical merits of this volume, we enter on a far more grateful task. In the notes to his translation, Dr. Williams has manifested an accurate acquaintance with the niceties of the Greek language, and a perfect familiarity with the venerable diction of Homer. His elucidations of Grecian antiquities and mythology are ingenious, and no less pleasing than useful. On some points we have doubted the correctness of his decisions ; but we uniforınly admire the acuteness, the learning, and the candour of his remarks. Some of his ob. servations we lay before the reader. L. 3. nepocales. In our first extract, the classical scholar will
missed the word prematurely. Dr. W. supposes that the
compound is here used for the simple verb; so Virgil, Multa Danaum demittimus Orco. Beside which, a premature death is contradictory to the notion of fate, which the Greeks, or at least Homer, invariably maintained. See E. 190, and Z. 437.
L. 29. • Tmn de iye rúow, mpir kese seci mas fran. The Commentator in general mistake the import of the particle wpir in this line. They commonly translate it in Latin : Hanc non liberabo, antequam eam et senectus invadat. Heyné well observes : Peccant in Grammaticam. Ita enim dicendum fuisset Topin’ETTIENAI-Est adeo afir hoc loco fere quod, Quin protius. All the English interpreters follow the Latin, and understand the line thus : I will not liberate thy daughter, till old Age come upon her : as if he meant then to dismiss her with equal haste and cruelty. Dryden goes still wider of the meaning, and represents Agamemnon fonder of her in her old Age, than in the bloom of youth. What Pope indeed condemns, but does not much improve. A phrase exactly similar oc, urs below, St. 551, where Achilles tells Priam that at that time all further, sorrow for Hector would avail him nothing, and adds : Oudt juis αντήσεις, ΠΡΙΝ και κακόν άλλο πάθησθα. Where a Scholiast says : Πρότερων κακόν πείση, η αναγήσεις αυτόν. You'll soONER suffer some further calamits yourself, than be able to raise him to life again. So here : 'Even sooned shall old Age come upon her, than I set her at liberty. Mãihoo yegáoa wa fuoi, s nutnortas. See Scholiast, and Damm, p. 2095—2098.
L. 39. xapievle. This word is supposed to be a neuter plural, used adyerbially. So Damm, pp. 1562, &c.
L. 63. mioyag. That sort of divination ; to ovæg, not te. L. 98. Ensxwaida. Dr. W. follows Damm ; not, blackeyed, but spectabilis, atiractive or charming...
L. 105. xxx' ocooperos. Boding ill, according to Heyné; it is properly observed, that looking sternly is always expressed by
ifh the crit
- 165.-167. If the Greeks--if they don't? Ei unirs. If they do, well-anãs éget. The Apodosis, or application of the first part of the sentence, is elegantly suppressed. There is a beautiful instance of this figure in Xenophon, where Cyrus, on his death-bed, is taking his last leave of his sons. viii. Ει μεν έν έγω υμάς έκανώς διδάσκω οίες χρή προς αλλήλες είναι ει δε μή, και παρά των προγεγενημένων μανθάνετε' αύτη γάς αρίστη διδασκαλία. So in St. Luke xiii. 9. Καν μέν σοιήση καρσόν: ει δε μήγε, εις το μέλλον έκκόψεις αυτήν, i. e, συκήν.”
We are sorry to omit the note on the word OEOE. I. 178.
L. 207. Travmwm. This epithet is translated keen-eyed, instead of blue-eyed, or owl-eyed, in pursuance of Mr. R. P. Knight's etymology from now, fruor. So also Hesychius.
L. 351. xcipes opeyvus. Dr. W: translates this redundantly,'extending wide his hands, towards the deep ;' but not without